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A man who was seen buying rounds of drinks for members of the 2018 world junior hockey team before an alleged group sexual assault at a hotel in London, Ont., is a senior employee at Nike Canada, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The presence of this individual at the bar that night was revealed in a recent court application made by London police, which The Globe reported on earlier this week. In the application, London police say they have reasonable grounds to believe that five members of the gold-medal-winning team sexually assaulted a woman in the early morning hours of June 19, 2018. No charges have been laid and the allegations in the application have not been tested in court.

All names in the application have been redacted, but sources have confirmed that the man identified as M.M. is a senior employee at Nike Canada, which in October became the last premier marketing partner to suspend its relationship with Hockey Canada. The Globe is not identifying the sources because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

According to the application, the complainant told police that M.M. was buying rounds of drinks for some members of the team who were celebrating at Jack’s Bar after being honoured at a Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event.

The complainant – who is identified as E.M. – said she met a man identified as Player 1 at Jack’s and spent most of the night dancing and drinking with him and his friends. She told police that a well-dressed “older gentleman” was also hanging around the group. E.M. was about 20 years old at the time and M.M. was 34.

M.M.’s occupation is redacted in the application but he is described as someone whose job requires him to attend “functions such as this.” E.M. also told police that M.M. poured a shot of Jagerbomb in her mouth. She alleged that he was praising Player 1 and told her to “take care of him.”

In a 2018 interview, Detective Stephen Newton asked Player 1 about M.M. Specifically, he asked about the “take care of him” comment that E.M. mentioned.

“I think he said that, yeah,” Player 1 told the officer, according to the court file.

Player 1 added that he understood this comment to mean that E.M. “should take care of him if they are ‘going home together,’ ” the application states.

M.M. is a former Ontario Hockey League player who, according to his LinkedIn page, has been with Nike Canada for more than a decade. He declined to comment when contacted by The Globe. The court filing shows that he spoke to London police on Aug. 12, 2022, but that he “does not have many recollections of the events of this evening,” the file states.

There is no suggestion that M.M. ever attended the Delta hotel or had anything to do with the alleged sexual assault. Based on the police file, it does not appear that M.M. was interviewed back in 2018, during the police service’s initial probe of the incident. That case closed without charges in February, 2019.

In a statement to The Globe, Nike Canada said it had co-operated with investigators: “Nike believes sport should create a safe, supportive environment for all. We’re deeply concerned by the very serious allegations reported in the investigation. We co-operated, and will continue to co-operate, with the authorities and investigators.”

Nike Canada did not address questions about whether the company has any policies or codes of conduct that deal with interactions between sponsors and athletes. It did not respond to questions about what actions Nike has taken to understand the events of June 18-19, 2018.

London police filed the application with the Ontario Court of Justice for additional investigative tools, including warrants and production orders, in October. The 94-page document, which The Globe obtained from the Crown, provided new details about the status of the London police investigation, including news that investigators discovered a group chat between members of the world junior team.

In her 2018 interview with police, E.M. said that she and Player 1 left Jack’s together and had consensual sex in his hotel room. But when they were finished, she alleges he was on his phone texting. Shortly after, members of his team showed up at his room and she alleges she was made to perform sex acts against her will while intoxicated. The identities of the players have not been made public, but through a team of lawyers representing some of them, players have denied wrongdoing and said the sexual acts were consensual.

In May, TSN reported that Hockey Canada had quietly settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in connection to the alleged group sexual assault. The sports body did this without consulting the players, lawyers representing some of the players have previously told The Globe.

In the ensuing months, the sports body was called before a parliamentary committee to explain its actions. The federal government later froze Hockey Canada’s funding. High-profile sponsors – including Tim Hortons, Telus, Esso, Bank of Nova Scotia and Nike – pulled their financial support. And the NHL launched its own investigation.

The London Police Service reopened its investigation this summer amid the intense public scrutiny of Hockey Canada’s handling of the incident.

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